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Mars Polar Lander  
Overview | Quick Facts | MPL NewsWire

Mission Overview

The Loss of Mars Polar Lander
The Polar Lander was the first attempt to land on Mars since the Mars Pathfinder mission of 1997. The cruise stage of the Polar Lander contained the two Deep Space 2 Microprobes, "Amundsen and Scott" (named for the South polar explorers of Earth) The lander and microprobes were in excellent health during launch and the nine-month transit to Mars. On December 3rd, 1999, about ten minutes before it was expected to land on the south polar region of Mars (the first time a mission had been sent to that region), the lander lost contact with Earth and it was never regained. JPL scientists are currently determining what happened to the lander; it's assumed that it crashed on the Martian surface. The microprobes also never were located and its assumed that they were destroyed on impact (one of them was projected to hit the side of a crater wall, a dangerous target because of the rocky terrain).

The Polar Lander's Mission
The Polar Lander was to carry out a 90 day primary mission followed by an extended mission lasting until a terminal hardware failure. The theme of the Polar Lander mission was "Volatiles and Climate History" on Mars. The lander would have searched for surface ice and possible signs of regular climate change. It would also have looked for physical evidence of the seasonal cycles of water, carbon dioxide, and dust on Mars. The search for water is important for understanding the climate of Mars, both now and in the past. Finding easily-accessible sources of water is a requirement for the future human exploration of Mars.

Deep Space 2: Mars Microprobes
The Deep Space 2 Microprobes were a technology demonstrator mission which would also have returned science about Mars. As the Polar Lander separated from its cruise stage in preparation of entering the Martian atmosphere and landing, the two probes presumably detached and impacted the ground. Unfortuantely they did not succeed in landing safely and sending back signals to the Mars Global Surveyor orbiting overhead. If they had been successful, the forebody of the probes would have extended 1 - 2 meters into the ground, and they would have drilled deeper into the ground to search for water.

 

 
The Mars Polar Lander would have explored the Martian south pole
(Courtesy NASA/JPL/Caltech)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Click here to see an animation of a Mars Microprobe as it would have impacted the ground, deploying its forebody (Courtesy NASA/JPL/Caltech)

Quick Facts:

Mars Polar Lander

Launch: January 3, 1999
Landing & Loss: December 3, 1999
Planned End: March 1, 2000
Launch Mass: 576 kg (1,270 pounds)
Lander Mass: 290 kg (639 pounds)
Height: 1.06 meters (3.5 feet)
Width: 3.6 meters (12 feet)

Payload:
Deep Space 2 Microprobes
Mars Descent Imager (MARDI)
Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR)
Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor (MVACS)
Stereo Surface Imager (SSI)
Robotic Arm & Camera
Meteorological Package (MET)
Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA)
Mars Microphone (The Planetary Society)

Deep Space 2
New Millennium Microprobes
(Piggybacked with Mars Polar Lander)

Launch: January 3-27, 1999
Impact & Loss: December 3, 1999
Planned End: December 4-6, 1999
Mass (each): 3 kg
Landing Velocity: 187 - 210 m/s
Forebody resistance: 30,000 Gs
Aftbody resistance: < 60,000 Gs

Mission Websites:

Mars Polar Lander - Official mirror site provided by The Mars Society

Mars Polar Lander (official site)
Deep Space 2 Microprobes

The NewsWire: Mars Polar Lander
23-Jun-2001 - Goldin waffles on blame for Mars failures (Florida Today)
Recent remarks to two different audiences have some wondering whether NASA Administrator Dan Goldin is dodging responsibility for two Mars failures without looking like he's dodging. In a speech earlier this month to a computing summit in Maryland, Goldin blamed the Mars failures on inadequate computer design tools and said his critics tend to "look for the guilty and punish the innocent." He adopted a different attitude, however, in a recent interview with Florida Today that touched on the 1999 loss of Mars Climate Observer and Mars Polar Lander on separate missions. "As an agency, we are willing to tell the world we made a mistake," Goldin said. "In the case of the Mars program, I believe that the people pressed too hard and they pressed too hard because I asked them to. Clearly we have to push it a little less aggressively."
1-Apr-2001 - U.S. Poised For Return to Mars (Aviation Week & Space Technology)
The $297-million Mars Odyssey mission, crucial for NASA's recovery from back-to-back Mars flight losses, is set for liftoff this week on a "do-or-die" mission to validate reforms in the wake of the failures. The Odyssey orbiter will search for "Martian oases" as targets for future U.S./European landers.
26-Mar-2001 - NASA And NIMA Continue Joint Review Of Mars Polar Lander Search Analysis (SpaceDaily)
NASA and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) today said researchers from the two agencies will continue a joint review of the initial results of NIMA's search for the missing Mars Polar Lander. This analysis is extremely challenging, and has thus far produced no definitive conclusions.
22-Mar-2001 - Mars Polar Lander: NASA and NIMA at Odds Over Spy Agency Findings (Space.com)
NASA and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) are moving forward on joint studies to search for the lost Mars Polar Lander. The craft has been missing in action since it attempted to soft-land on the Red Planet on Dec. 3, 1999. The craft was believed to have crashed on Mars, busting itself up across the Martian terrain. But NIMA photo specialists have been poring over NASA-supplied photos snapped by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, now in orbit about Mars. As a support agency of the Department of Defense, NIMA has long been associated with interpretation of high-resolution imagery snapped by Earth-circling military spy satellites.
21-Mar-2001 - Experts Find Hint of Mars Lander (AP)
Fifteen months after the Mars Polar Lander vanished, Defense Department imaging experts have spotted what may be a trace of the spacecraft on the surface of the Red Planet, a NASA official said. Experts at the National Imagery and Mapping Agency have spent months poring over high-resolution images of the region where the Polar Lander was to have set down.
19-Mar-2001 - Spy Agency May Have Located Mars Polar Lander (Space.com)
The Mars Polar Lander may have been found -- intact -- by a top-secret spy imagery agency. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) has been quietly scanning Mars pictures, looking for the Mars Polar Lander since early December 1999. According to a source close to the NIMA effort, photographic specialists at NIMA think they’ve spotted something. But NASA officials say it’s too early to tell.
11-Jun-2000 - NASA's claim of Mars Polar Lander 'achievement' draws criticism (Space Today)
NASA has sparked a new uproar over the failed $165 million Mars Polar Lander program because of a statement in a recently released report. This latest Mars-program controversy revolves around NASA's claim that a "target" was "achieved" because the spacecraft's robotic arm worked in testing on Earth, even though the arm and the entire Lander were lost after crashing into Mars in early December.
12-Apr-2000 - Panel chairman blames NASA management for Mars debacle (Houston Chronicle)
The House's chief overseer of NASA on Wednesday blamed mismanagement for two failed Mars missions but stopped short of calling for changes in the space agency's leadership. An independent review of the missions, which both failed in 1999, concluded last month that they failed because of inadequate testing, inexperienced staff, poor communication and insufficient funds. But Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., said those problems could have been avoided had management paid more attention to tests, employee training and budget management.
7-Apr-2000 - More Grief for NASA: Report Calls Deep Space 2 Microprobes Unfit (Space.com)
A recent NASA report found the Deep Space 2 microprobes were unfit for launch but sent to Mars all the same, where they vanished December 3, 1999 along with their mothership, the Mars Polar Lander.
31-Mar-2000 - Fatal Error: Buggy Software May Have Crashed Mars Polar Lander (Space.com)
The software problem that likely crashed the Mars Polar Lander into the Red Planet’s frozen ground is striking mainly for its obviousness, according to a software safety expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
30-Mar-2000 - Polar Lander Leg Snafu Discovery a Fluke (Space.com)
A software glitch that likely doomed the Mars Polar Lander might have done the same to NASA’s next spacecraft to alight on the Red Planet had the problem not been uncovered by accident, a Lockheed Martin Astronautics official said Wednesday.
29-Mar-2000 - Goldin Accepts Blame for Lost Mars Missions (Space.com)
NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin said Wednesday he accepts the blame for the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander spacecraft, saying he had asked the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to do the impossible.
28-Mar-2000 - Mismanagement Blamed for NASA/JPL Mars Failures (Space.com)
NASA’s succession of Mars spacecraft failures last year was reportedly the result of government and industry mismanagement, lack of oversight and inadequate checks and balances. Those charges form the foundation of a 57-page analysis, written by an 18-person Mars Program Independent Assessment Team (MPIAT).
24-Mar-2000 - Congress, Mars & NASA (Alabama Live)
You don't get a Cadillac for the price of a Yugo. NASA is simply trying to make the most of the money it has. The facts as we know them: On Dec. 3, 1999, the Mars Polar Lander began descending to the surface of the red planet. And that was it. The probe was never heard from again. The spacecraft or its debris, if any exists, is lost in space or on the Martian surface, where recovery is not practical.
22-Mar-2000 - NASA’s Response to UPI’s March 21 Mars Polar Lander story (NASA)
James Oberg of UPI claims that NASA knew there was a problem with the Mars Polar Lander propulsion system prior to the Dec. 3 landing attempt and "withheld this conclusion from the public." NASA categorically denies this charge.
22-Mar-2000 - NASA Denies Cover-up (SpaceDaily)
NASA on Wednesday "categorically denied" a report alleging it knew in advance of a fatal design flaw in the Mars Polar Lander (MPL) that disappeared in space in December.
22-Mar-2000 - NASA Denies Validity of News Reports On MPL Failure (Space.com)
NASA officials are categorically denying the accuracy of media reports that have been swirling since Tuesday night, which say that NASA knew in advance that the Mars Polar Lander (MPL) was doomed, but kept it secret.
21-Mar-2000 - NASA knew Mars Polar Lander doomed (United Press International)
The disappearance of NASA's Mars Polar Lander last December was no surprise to space officials, UPI has learned. Prior to its arrival at Mars, a review board had already identified a fatal design flaw with the braking thrusters that doomed the mission, but NASA withheld this conclusion from the public. The probe was lost while attempting to land near the martian south pole on December 3.
21-Mar-2000 - NASA denies hiding Mars probe flaws (United Press International)
A NASA spokesman vigorously denied a United Press International article that NASA knew that the Mars Polar Orbiter was doomed prior to its December crash into Mars but kept the information from the public. Brian Welch, director of public affairs at NASA headquarters in Washington, said "we think the story is whacko in every particular."
14-Mar-2000 - Sloppy management blamed for Mars Climate Orbiter loss (Spaceflight Now)
An independent review board blames the loss of NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter last year on sloppy project management, a lack of agency oversight, poor communications and shortsighted engineering. To avoid similar mishaps in the future, the board called for NASA to adopt a "mission success first" approach, one in which the emphasis is clearly on the word "success."
13-Mar-2000 - Lessons of Lost Spacecraft (ABCNews)
A report by a panel investigating the loss of Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft last fall blames space agency managers for putting too much emphasis on the “faster” and “cheaper” missions instead of “successful.”
24-Feb-2000 - NASA Considers Mars Polar Lander Repeat for '02 (Space.com)
Just months after losing a $165-million lander at Mars, NASA is now considering sending a near duplicate spacecraft to the red planet in 2002.
18-Feb-2000 - Mars lander may have had fatal flaw (BBC)
Engineers are looking into the possibility that a flaw in the design of Nasa's Mars Polar Lander (MPL) may have caused its engines to cut off prematurely when it was descending to the Martian surface.
18-Feb-2000 - Mars Polar Lander's Demise May Never Be Known, Flight Director Says (Space.com)
Less than one month before a NASA review board is scheduled to report on the failure of Mars Polar Lander, a mission team member cautioned that the cause of the lander’s disappearance might never be known.
17-Feb-2000 - Flaw Found in Mars Lander (ABCNews)
A flaw in the design of NASA’s Mars Polar Lander could have caused its engines to cut off prematurely while the $165 million spacecraft was descending to the surface, engineers said today.
16-Feb-2000 - Was Polar Lander Doomed By Fatal Design Flaw (SpaceDaily)
In a surprising development, an industry source told "SpaceDaily" Tuesday that the Failure Review Board for the Mars Polar Lander has located a fatal design flaw that is regarded as the most probable culprit in the Lander's disappearance last Dec. 3 somewhere over the southern polar regions of Mars.
16-Feb-2000 - A Fatal Design's Single Bit (SpaceDaily)
However, during the actual Mars landing, the accidental setting of the ground-contact bit as soon as the legs unfolded would mean that later, when the lander cut itself loose from its chute and switched on its landing engines, it would instantly conclude that it had already landed and immediately switch the engines off again -- falling the remaining 1800 meters to the surface of Mars.
15-Feb-2000 - Polar Lander ‘Signals’ Probably a False Alarm (Space.com)
New analysis suggests that two faint signals thought to be from the Mars Polar Lander were likely terrestrial in origin, a Stanford University scientist said Tuesday. A 150-foot (46-meter) radio antenna at the Northern California university picked up the weak signals on December 18 and January 4, reviving hopes at the time that the errant Polar Lander remained alive. The $165 million spacecraft vanished December 3 after plunging into the martian atmosphere at the start of what was to have been a 90-day mission.
11-Feb-2000 - Seeking an SOS from Mars (Christian Science Monitor)
At first, Ivan Linscott just didn't think the odd signal amounted to much. The scientist had been using Stanford University's 15-story-tall radio telescope to listen for messages from the wayward Mars Polar Lander. But the only data he had gotten back were one or two arcs that were all but obscured amid a Jackson Pollack tableau of multicolored specks.
8-Feb-2000 - Mars lander eludes searchers on Earth (CNN)
The latest attempt to detect a signal from NASA's Mars Polar Lander has turned up nothing so far, but radio telescopes around the world will make another try this week, engineers said.
7-Feb-2000 - Polar Lander Fails to Take International Call (Space.com)
NASA officials said Monday that yet another attempt to rouse a faint signal from the ill-fated Mars Polar Lander has failed, further dashing hopes the $165 million probe will ever be heard from again.
5-Feb-2000 - Antennas around world listen for Mars signal (Space Today)
Giant dish antennas in Europe and North America were aimed toward Mars on Friday to begin another attempt to detect what may be a flicker of life from NASA's Mars Polar Lander. It's the largest effort to listen for a signal since Stanford University engineers announced last month that they received an extremely faint signal that could have originated from the $165 million probe.
4-Feb-2000 - Mars Assessment Team Returns To JPL (SpaceDaily)
The Mars Program Independent Assessment Team, appointed by NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin, returned to JPL in Pasadena this week to continue its review of the Agency's program for the robotic exploration of Mars.
3-Feb-2000 - Quiet please, we're listening to Mars (BBC)
The mighty Jodrell Bank radio telescope will make a sensitive search for signals from the crippled Mars Polar Lander (MPL) on Friday - but scientists hope that journalists will keep their distance. Last week, an array of radio telescopes in Holland tried to listen for the errant Mars craft, but the posse of journalists who descended upon the Westerbork observatory to cover the story rendered the astronomers' efforts useless because of the interference from their mobile phones and satellite uplinks.
31-Jan-2000 - The Silence Of Mars (SpaceDaily)
Mission managers for Mars Polar Lander report that radio scientists at Stanford University have not detected a signal from the spacecraft in data they collected last week. Stanford will continue to analyze the data and it is still possible that more detailed analysis might reveal a signal.
31-Jan-2000 - Mars Polar Lander Remains Silent (Space.com)
Further attempts to listen for faint signals from the Mars Polar Lander have turned up no trace of the errant spacecraft, the $165 million mission’s managers said Monday.
31-Jan-2000 - Attempt To Hear Mars Lander Fails (AP)
The latest attempt to receive a signal from NASA's Mars Polar Lander failed, but engineers will make another try this week to contact the probe, space agency officials said Monday.
29-Jan-2000 - Mars Polar Lander Found? (Discovery Channel)
A signal detected on Jan. 4 showed characteristics consistent with a message from NASA’s Mars Polar Lander, according to Ivan Linscott of Stanford University, who is supervising ongoing efforts to hear a definitive signal from the lost probe amid background noise from space.
28-Jan-2000 - NASA: Mysterious space whisper could be Mars Polar Lander (CNN)
Managers of the Mars Polar Lander Team say a series faint radio signals captured by a dish antenna at Stanford University are offering some "tantalizing" circumstantial evidence that the spacecraft may be phoning home.
28-Jan-2000 - NASA Seeks International Help in Listening for Mars Polar Lander (Space.com)
The effort to hear from the Mars Polar Lander has gone global. On Friday NASA announced it has asked the Dutch, English and Italians for help in determining whether recently detected radio signals could have come from the errant spacecraft.
27-Jan-2000 - Mars lander contacting Dish? - Stanford scientists listening for signs that NASA probe is still operating (The Stanford Daily)
In what could potentially be a stunning turn of events for NASA's Mars program, Stanford scientists will determine today whether faint radio signals being picked up by the Dish are originating from the $165-million Mars Polar Lander, which was feared lost last month.
27-Jan-2000 - Nasa waits on new Mars search (BBC)
Nasa scientists say it will be the weekend at the earliest before they know if they have made contact with the Mars Polar Lander (MPL). Hopes of finding the spacecraft were raised this week after a review of data collected by a radio antenna at Stanford University showed a blip in the information record that just might have been MPL trying to contact Earth.
27-Jan-2000 - Polar Lander Still Alive? (ABCNews)
Space scientists hope that a “whisper” from space might mean that the Mars Polar Lander spacecraft is still alive, even if it is crippled and will never perform its task of looking for water on the Red Planet.
27-Jan-2000 - Controllers Hold Breath for Mars Polar Lander's Last Gasp (Space.com)
A last-ditch effort to find signs of the Mars Polar Lander is underway, but it will take more than a week of analysis before members of the mission team can determine whether or not the spacecraft has tried to contact Earth, the mission's flight operations manager said Wednesday.
27-Jan-2000 - Key Scientist Says Mars Polar Lander May Be Alive (Space.com)
There’s a 50-50 chance the missing-in-action Mars Polar Lander is resting intact on the surface of the Red Planet. A key scientist on the project named those odds Wednesday, based on reports from radio telescope experts at Stanford University that possible candidate signals from the $165 million lander may have been detected. Follow-up work could verify that it is alive, but sickly.
27-Jan-2000 - Never Say Die (NASA Science)
After receiving weak signals that may have come from Mars Polar Lander on Dec. 18 and Jan. 4, Stanford radio astronomers are again listening for murmurs from the missing spacecraft.
26-Jan-2000 - Polar Lander Found? (ABCNews)
A mysterious radio peep — apparently from the direction of Mars — has prompted NASA to fire up a new round of tests to see if the wayward Mars Polar Lander might somehow be alive and operating, officials said today. “This week’s test is a real long-shot, and I wouldn’t want to get anyone too excited about it,” Polar Lander project manager Richard Cook said after a fresh set of radio commands were sent to Mars Tuesday.
26-Jan-2000 - Stanford dish to play 'long shot' on Mars Lander (San Jose Mercury News)
Stanford University scientists think they may have heard a faint whistle of life from the given-up-for-dead Mars Polar Lander. Researchers will be listening for a radio signal so weak that if it were a light, it would glow no brighter than a Christmas tree bulb plopped on the Martian surface, 184 million miles away.
25-Jan-2000 - Signals revive hope for Mars lander (MSNBC)
NASA says it is transmitting new commands toward Mars amid indications that its Polar Lander spacecraft has been weakly trying to phone home. Mission managers say the radio signals, received twice in last two months, are so faint that it’s taken weeks to make them out, and they caution that their expectations are low. Nevertheless, the development has revived hopes for the luckless lander.
25-Jan-2000 - Does Polar Lander Live? (SpaceDaily)
Mission managers have decided to send another set of commands to Mars to investigate the possibility that a signal detected by a radio dish at California's Stanford University came from Mars Polar Lander.
25-Jan-2000 - Mystery Radio Peep Raises Slim Mars Lander Hopes (Reuters)
A mysterious radio peep -- apparently from the direction of Mars -- has prompted NASA to fire up a new round of tests to see if the wayward Mars Polar Lander might somehow be alive and operating, officials said on Tuesday. This week's test is a real long-shot, and I wouldn't want to get anyone too excited about it,'' Polar Lander project manager Richard Cook said after a fresh set of radio commands were sent to Mars Tuesday.
25-Jan-2000 - NASA checking possibility that Mars Lander sent signal to Earth (CNN)
Mission managers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory say the Mars Polar Lander may have tried to phone home after all -- on a bad connection -- and they sent new commands to the lander Tuesday in another attempt to achieve contact with the presumed lost mission.
25-Jan-2000 - Mars Polar Lander: The search continues (Space Today)
Since mid-December 1999, the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) onboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft has been taking pictures of Mars Polar Lander's landing zone near 76°S, 195°W, in hopes of finding some evidence as to the fate of the spacecraft that went missing during its Dec. 3, 1999, landing attempt. To take these pictures, the MGS spacecraft is pointed a few degrees off its normal, nadir-looking (straight down) path. The first phase of imaging was completed Dec. 24, 1999, but nothing was found. A second, expanded search was requested by the Mars Surveyor Operations Project and was begun in early January 2000.
25-Jan-2000 - NASA Tries to Contact Mars Lander (AP)
Another attempt is being made to contact the Mars Polar Lander after controllers noticed a very weak radio signal that could have originated from the silent probe, NASA said Tuesday. This week's test is a real long-shot, and I wouldn't want to get anyone too excited about it,'' said Richard Cook, the spacecraft's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
21-Jan-2000 - Why Did Mars Polar Lander Fail? A Conversation with Donna Shirley (Space.com)
NASA is still trying to figure out what caused the demise of the Mars Polar Lander. There are a number of possible fates: perhaps the lander malfunctioned; perhaps it was destroyed by a landing on hazardous martian terrain, or buried in a blanket of soft, deep dust. A NASA review board is expected to release its report on the Polar Lander's loss sometime later this winter. space.com's Andrew Chaikin. Executive Editor, Space & Science spoke recently with Donna Shirley, former manager for NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. She offered her perspective on the failed mission. Shirley, now assistant dean of engineering at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, is also a member of space.com's board of advisors.
18-Jan-2000 - Lost Canyons and Missing Corpses (SpaceDaily)
On Monday the last long shot efforts to contact the Mars Polar Lander were abandoned. Project Manager Richard Cook said, "The final set of planned commands were sent on Jan. 6 to place the spacecraft in UHF safe mode.
17-Jan-2000 - NASA Gives Up Search for Lost Mars Lander (Space.com)
NASA ended on Monday a six-week, intermittent search for its latest Mars mission that was to land on the red planet's surface on Dec. 3 but instead fell out of contact minutes before touchdown.
17-Jan-2000 - Nasa ends search for Mars probe (BBC)
Nasa has abandoned its attempts to locate the Mars Polar Lander, which landed on the red planet last month. Mission leader Richard Cook said the MPL was definitively lost and that all efforts to trace the probe had been halted.
14-Jan-2000 - Mars Polar Lander Investigative Panel Embarks on Two-Month Task (Space.com)
The panel investigating the loss of the Mars Polar Lander wrapped up three days of meetings at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Thursday, making its first foray into what will be a staccato, two-month, cross-country look into the spacecraft’s disappearance.
13-Jan-2000 - Scientists have not yet given up on Mars mission (Excite News)
After a month of searching, scientists from UCLA and JPL continue to look for the $165 million Mars Polar Lander and are planning for the future of the Mars program. Because of disappointing recent events, NASA is making efforts to restructure its program. After early successes completed with a new philosophy of working cheaper and faster, the program's last two launches have resulted in the confirmed destruction of one spacecraft and the disappearance of the other.
12-Jan-2000 - Be Kind to Mars Explorers (SpaceDaily)
The failure of Mars Polar Lander could not have come at a worse time. NASA is plagued by funding difficulties and the tensions over the survival of individual programs that inevitably results from this. The problems of the International Space Station are of Herculean proportions and Shuttle launches are sporadic events. NASA is clearly ailing, and the impact of any further problems is magnified.
10-Jan-2000 - Mars Gets Independent Assessment (SpaceDaily)
Sixteen experienced engineers, scientists and executives have been named by NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin to form the Mars Program Independent Assessment Team. The team held its initial organizational meeting at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC on Friday.
8-Jan-2000 - NASA starts investigation of Mars Polar Lander (Space Today)
NASA's investigation into its failed Mars missions began in earnest Friday with the naming of a 16-member investigation team and an initial round of briefings at space agency headquarters. In the coming weeks, team members will travel to NASA centers and to the Lockheed Martin Astronautics facility near Denver as they analyze two failed Martian probes and other missions.
7-Jan-2000 - Report: Scientists knew Mars Lander could set down in deep valley (CNN)
Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Thursday they knew they were proposing to set down the vanished Mars Polar Lander in a deep valley. They said they were still assessing what happened to the craft and had not determined why the Lander failed to communicate.
7-Jan-2000 - NASA Unveils New Panel to Scrutinize Mars Missions (Space.com)
A former astronaut who flew on two of the most dramatic shuttle missions of the 1990s is among 17 members of a newly-named independent team of engineers, scientists and executives that will scrutinize NASA's program to explore Mars.
6-Jan-2000 - Lockheed Martin Announces Mars Polar Lander Loss Remains A Mystery (Space.com)
After comments from engineers inside Lockheed Martin Astronautics lighted an explosion of controversy about the loss of the Mars Polar Lander, the company publicly denied that there is any way to say what happened to the craft.
6-Jan-2000 - Crippled Mars Lander Could Be in Crater -- NASA (Reuters)
The ill-fated Mars Polar Lander, last heard from on Dec. 3, 1999, as it started a descent to the surface of the Red Planet, may be lying crippled in a huge crater, the chief mission scientist said on Thursday. But Richard Zurek, the Mars Polar Lander Project Scientist, said the crater theory was just one of several scenarios being considered by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
6-Jan-2000 - NASA Poised to Give Up Listening for Mars Polar Lander (Space.com)
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will make one final attempt to hear from the Mars Polar Lander over the next two weeks before declaring the $165-million spacecraft officially lost. JPL started sending commands to the robotic spacecraft Thursday to use its UHF antenna to contact the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor. The Surveyor satellite will then cock its robotic ear and listen for the lander for 11 days, or until Jan. 17.
6-Jan-2000 - Did mile-deep canyon swallow Mars Polar Lander? Nobody knows (The Seattle Times)
The vanished Mars Polar Lander could have tumbled down a canyon on the Red Planet, but investigators so far have uncovered no evidence supporting a single explanation for the disaster, NASA said today.
6-Jan-2000 - Mars probe canyon crash theory (BBC)
The Mars Polar Lander (MPL) lost by Nasa a month ago may have met its end in a catastrophic tumble down the sides of a canyon almost a mile deep.
6-Jan-2000 - Mars lander may have broke apart (AP)
The vanished Mars Polar Lander probably broke apart in a canyon, The Denver Post reported today, citing scientists who suggested the landing site was the reason for NASA's latest failure. The $165 million lander was supposed to touch down Dec. 3 for a 90-day mission to analyze the planet's atmosphere and search for frozen water beneath its south pole. It has not been heard from since it started its descent after an 11-month cruise, and NASA has not offered a reason for the disappearance.
6-Jan-2000 - Scientists say Mars probe probably plunged into canyon (Denver Post)
The Mars Polar Lander, silent and missing for a month, probably descended into a nearly mile-deep canyon and then tumbled like a three-legged chair down the ravine's steep walls before breaking apart.
6-Jan-2000 - Did the Mars Polar Lander Crash In A Canyon? NASA Says No (Space.com)
The finger-pointing has begun between NASA and Lockheed Martin Astronautics over the ill-fated Mars Polar Lander. The loss of a second spacecraft within three months seems to be stressing the relationship of the once-cozy marriage between the space agency and the aerospace giant.
31-Dec-1999 - Aerial search turns up no trace of Mars Polar Lander (CNN)
Scientists trying to track down the Mars Polar Lander reported this week that an initial search conducted last week failed to find any trace of the lost probe. Scientists at Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego aimed a powerful camera on the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor at the lander's intended touchdown site, but the images it captured showed no sign of the $165 million spacecraft.
28-Dec-1999 - Second Mars Polar Lander Review Board Appointed (Space.com)
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory named its own review panel to look into the loss of the Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space 2 microprobes. The 12-member panel, led by John Casani, will examine the most probable root causes for the failure of the two missions, which piggybacked during the nearly year-long trip to their Dec. 3 arrival at Mars. The three spacecraft have not been heard from since landing and are presumed lost.
23-Dec-1999 - Bradbury Foretold Polar Lander's Fate (San Francisco Chronicle)
It is clear now that the Polar Lander will not be sending back signals from Mars, the red planet. Something has gone wrong. The scientists don't know what happened to the spacecraft, but a lot of us do know. The Martians got it.
22-Dec-1999 - Children's science book about Mars is largely fiction (Desert News)
In the new children's book, "The Mystery of Mars," former astronaut Sally Ride and educator Tam O'Shaughnessy cover much of what is known about the red planet. One of the sad realizations that strike a reader is that people were mistaken about the prospects of civilizations relatively nearby in our solar system. But the saddest thing in the book is the two-page spread near the back, supposedly showing where we are now in our exploration of Mars.
22-Dec-1999 - MPL Search To End Soon (SpaceDaily)
NASA is likely to call off in mid-January its search for the Mars Polar Lander. The 165-million-dollar lander and two mini-probes were to have searched for subterranean ice, but have remained silent since December 3, when they pierced the Martian atmosphere near the southern polar region.
16-Dec-1999 - Scientist Has Low Expectations for Lander Hunt (Space.com)
NASA's lone Mars orbiter started a photographic search for its latest lost mission at the red planet Thursday. But the scientist who designed the orbiter's camera is pessimistic about the chances of finding Mars Polar Lander, the spacecraft lost at Mars two weeks ago, on the day it was set to land.
16-Dec-1999 - Lost and spaced? (The Why Files)
Gotten a phone call from the Mars Polar Lander? We hear the phone isn't ringing at mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, either. The $165-million spacecraft is dead -- a steaming pile of high-tech junk on the south pole of the Red Planet for all we know.
15-Dec-1999 - Mars Polar Lander Mission Status (JPL)
Flight controllers for Mars Polar Lander have continued their attempts to communicate with the spacecraft so that they can be certain they have exhausted all possibilities before they conclude their search. While a recovery is still a possibility, the likelihood of hearing from the lander is considered remote at this point. In parallel with the communications attempts, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft will start taking high-resolution images of the landing site to search for signs of the lander.
15-Dec-1999 - The Mars Polar Lander (The Onion)
Humor: Leading theories as to why NASA mysteriously lost all contact with the $165 million Mars Polar Lander.
15-Dec-1999 - Probing lost Mars missions to learn what went wrong (Christian Science Monitor)
Stunned by the loss of two consecutive Mars missions, some American space scientists say NASA is setting its goals without adequate assessment of the risks. One way to help fix the problem: Consult more scientists.
14-Dec-1999 - Nasa to scan Mars for lost probe (BBC)
Nasa scientists will continue the hunt for their missing spacecraft, Mars Polar Lander (MPL). They will use a powerful camera on board another Mars probe, which is orbiting the Red Planet, to try to locate the lost lander.
14-Dec-1999 - Spacecraft missing on Mars, in toy stores (collectSPACE)
In a case of art imitating life, miniature versions of NASA's three most recent Mars spacecraft are missing -- from the toy shelves. Surrounded by rumors, the "Hot Wheels 'JPL Returns to Mars!' Action Pack" may emerge as one of the most difficult to find products this holiday season.
12-Dec-1999 - Look Mars! No airbags (The Australian)
FUELLED by its credo of "better, faster, cheaper" – with a heavy emphasis on the latter two – NASA rolled the dice and gambled on two key components of the ill-fated Mars Polar Lander project. The space agency's insistence on doing things on the cheap may have led to two missions – the Mars Polar Lander, including two small, independent deep-space probes, and Mars Climate Orbiter – with a total budget of $US356.8 million ($558 million) being rendered as space junk.
11-Dec-1999 - Mars Lander Cast Ready To Try Again (AP)
Dozens of computers sit idle in a cavernous room where pictures, sounds and data from the Mars Polar Lander were to be beamed. A Mars or Bust'' sign hangs at one of many empty desks near a TV tuned to a soccer match.
10-Dec-1999 - Silence from missing Mars emissaries will echo for years (Space Today)
Today was supposed to be "Sol 7," another full Martian day of work for the visitor from Earth - its robot arm digging, its eyes scanning the horizon, its microphone ear listening for the whisper of frigid wind. Instead, Mars Polar Lander is lost along with a companion satellite that was supposed to have parked itself in Martian orbit 10 weeks ago, taken pictures of the landscape and relayed the data back home.
9-Dec-1999 - Mattel Selling Doomed Mars Mission Toys (Space.com)
It’s the saddest toy story ever this holiday season. In a single Hot Wheels "Action Pack," Mattel Inc. is marketing toy models of NASA’s three latest failed missions: the Mars Climate Orbiter, Polar Lander and Deep Space 2 microprobes.
9-Dec-1999 - Editorial: No time to stop venturing out into the universe (Houston Chronicle)
SOMEWHERE in the cold desolation near the south pole of Mars, apparently oblivious to the frantic efforts of earthlings to contact it, there is a lost spacecraft. Barring some stroke of remarkable luck in establishing contact, we may never know what went wrong on the Mars Polar Lander.
9-Dec-1999 - Mars Exploration: Where To Now (SpaceDaily)
The Mars Polar Lander (and its two small piggyback Deep Space-2 probes) have all failed, and without sending any telemetry back which could identify the cause of the failure.
9-Dec-1999 - Reminder from Mars: This is rocket science (Christian Science Monitor)
Failure shows how hard it is to explore space. Night after sleep-deprived night, NASA scientists crowded into tiny Room 225, the Mars Operation Center at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and scanned the skies for overdue signals from the wayward Mars Polar Lander.
8-Dec-1999 - Mars 'wake up call' for Nasa (BBC)
The suspected loss of the Mars Polar Lander spacecraft could result in the postponement or cancellation of the next trip to the Red Planet. The deputy director of Nasa's Office of Space Sciences, Ed Weiler, described the failure of the $165m spacecraft as "a crushing blow for the Mars programme," that could cause a 2001 Mars launch to be scrapped.
8-Dec-1999 - Mars Lander Topped Bad Year for NASA (AP)
A grounded space shuttle fleet. An international space station on hold. A crippled Hubble Space Telescope. Two failed Mars probes. One launch delay after another. For NASA, this has been the worst year since the Challenger disaster in 1986.
8-Dec-1999 - Clinton Defends NASA After Mars Lander Loss (Reuters)
President Clinton defended the U.S. space program on Wednesday, one day after NASA scientists confirmed the loss of the $165 million Mars Polar Lander. I think it's important not only for the American tradition of exploration. ... We have to keep doing this if we ever hope to know what's beyond our galaxy,'' Clinton said at what was billed as his final news conference of the year.
8-Dec-1999 - Scientists continue attempts to contact Mars Polar Lander as hopes fade (CNN)
NASA to examine entire Mars program, could delay future missions. Though the chance of success is now slim, NASA scientists are still trying to contact the missing Mars Polar Lander, and those efforts will continue for two weeks.
8-Dec-1999 - What Might Have Been (Discovery Channel)
It was 3:35 a.m. ET on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day, 1999. Sam Thurman, flight operations manager of the Mars Polar Lander, hesitated before answering an incoming call from Mike Malin, who operates the communications relay system aboard the Mars Global Surveyor. The last reasonable hope that the silent spacecraft might be raised, Thurman knew, depended on this message.
7-Dec-1999 - Loss of lander would prompt review (Space Today)
As hope of contacting the missing Mars Polar Lander faded Monday, NASA officials prepared to confront the reality of a costly failure and the likelihood of a top-to-bottom review of the next voyage to the Red Planet.
7-Dec-1999 - Mars Lander emits a deafening silence (Orlando Sentinel)
No news again was bad news Sunday at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The wayward Mars Polar Lander remained mute for a third consecutive day, missing an appointment to check in with a NASA mapping satellite already in orbit around the Red Planet. The $165 million spacecraft hasn't been heard from since trying to touch down near the Martian south pole on Friday.
7-Dec-1999 - Lessons to be learned from success, failure (Space Today)
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Local scientists said Monday they were disappointed at the apparent failure of the Mars Polar Lander but hope exploration of the planet continues. "Scientifically, this was a very, very interesting and exciting mission," said Bart Lipofsky, a professor of physics and astronomy at Brevard Community College. "It's a serious loss."
7-Dec-1999 - Silence on Mars as NASA's 'last silver bullet' misses mark (CNN)
What controllers billed as their last chance to hear from the Mars Polar Lander passed amid unbroken silence from the planet Tuesday as NASA squarely faced the prospect that the craft was lost.
7-Dec-1999 - Silent Mars: No Message from Alternate Antenna, Either (ABCNews)
Two more listening opportunities came and went Sunday as NASA scientists waited in vain for a signal from Mars Polar Lander. This latest silence is the most worrisome so far. As a contingency for a malfunction in the direct-to-Earth antenna, the lander was programmed to try to use a different antenna and transmitter to relay a message through Mars Global Surveyor, which is in orbit around Mars.
6-Dec-1999 - Last-Ditch Effort to Contact Mars Spacecraft (Reuters)
When the Mars Polar Lander failed to signal it had arrived on the Red Planet, NASA scientists hoped it was resting. Now they fear it is dead.
6-Dec-1999 - Another silent night for Mars Polar Lander scientists (Space Today)
NASA didn't get a signal again Sunday from its Mars Polar Lander spacecraft, as hope waned that the probe safely reached the planet's south pole last week. Two grim possibilities remain: The spacecraft is intact but hobbled by potentially serious problems or it was destroyed in a failed landing attempt Friday.
6-Dec-1999 - Hope Fades for Mars Polar Lander (AP)
With hope fading fast for the Mars Polar Lander, NASA investigators may have to face the possibility of never really knowing what went wrong with the spacecraft 157 million miles from Earth.
6-Dec-1999 - Lessons From the Frontier (Newsweek)
The thing to keep in mind," says Benton Clark, chief scientist for flight systems at Lockheed Martin Astronautics, "is that [on any planetary spacecraft] there are around a thousand or so separate individual things that have to be verified somehow—by test, by inspection, by analysis. The pilot on an airplane does 10, 20, 30 things; we have to do a thousand."
6-Dec-1999 - Fears That All Is Lost as Lander Stays Silent (New York Times)
A critical attempt to communicate with the missing Mars Polar Lander Sunday brought nothing but more interplanetary silence and the growing fear that the spacecraft and its $165 million mission are beyond recovery.
6-Dec-1999 - Mars 2 - Earth 0 (BBC)
We've been here before. Failure is nothing new in spaceflight and there is nothing that can be done about it. But is the probable loss of the Mars Polar Lander (MPL) an "acceptable" failure?
5-Dec-1999 - Mars Polar Lander Mission Status (JPL)
Another telecommunications strategy to hear from NASA's Mars Polar Lander produced no results today, but the mission flight team is proceeding through its contingency checklist in continuing attempts to communicate with the spacecraft.
5-Dec-1999 - Silence From Mars (SpaceDaily)
A 10-minute window during which anxious scientists hoped to hear from the Mars Polar Lander closed Sunday without any signal from the spacecraft.
5-Dec-1999 - Lessons From the Frontier (Newsweek)
Educators call them "teach-able moments"—instances such as a child's getting into a schoolyard brawl, or cheating on a test, which present an opportunity for him to learn right from wrong and profit from his mistakes. Much to its dismay, NASA spent a weekend filled with teachable moments.
5-Dec-1999 - Silence from Mars: Polar Lander Teams Hunker Down for Long Wait (space.com)
NASA’s Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space 2 spacecraft both remained silent early Sunday ET, nearly 36 hours after the robotic spacecraft arrived on the Red Planet.
5-Dec-1999 - For Deep Space 2 Probes, a Range of Fates (space.com)
Members of the Deep Space 2 mission will continue to listen for the two microprobes for another week, although the odds are now extremely slim the tiny spacecraft survived the violent slam into the surface of Mars on Friday.
5-Dec-1999 - Polar Lander: Narrowing the Possibilities (space.com)
In the wake of Sunday’s failed attempt to relay signals from Mars Polar Lander via a second orbiting spacecraft, the silence from Mars is starting to seem interminable. And in that silence, controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are narrowing their strategies on how to contact the lander.
5-Dec-1999 - Attempt to Hear Polar Lander through Martian Satellite Unsuccessful (space.com)
NASA's first attempt to receive a signal from its Mars Polar Lander via a satellite now orbiting the Red Planet was unsuccessful Sunday, indicating that if the spacecraft survived landing it remains in standby mode.
4-Dec-1999 - Thousands Wait for Signal From Mars (Yahoo! News)
While scientists and space fans waited for a signal from the Mars Polar Lander, school principal Douglas Hogg was on a mission to give two dozen students an insider's view of the potential encounter with the Red Planet. The principal, who heads the Pinewood Academy in La Canada Flintridge, took the students to join nearly 2,000 others on Friday who packed an auditorium at Planetfest '99 where they waited for the signal.
4-Dec-1999 - Mars Polar Lander Mission Status (JPL)
Mission controllers for NASA's Mars Polar Lander and the accompanying Deep Space 2 microprobes will continue attempting to communicate with the lander and the probes throughout the weekend. Controllers did not hear from the spacecraft in their first few attempts to communicate with the lander and the probes during the first 12 hours after the scheduled landing time. The Deep Space 2 team will try to contact the probes approximately every two hours. The next opportunity for the Mars Polar Lander to contact Earth will be on Saturday evening, Dec. 4 at about 8:30 p.m. PST.
3-Dec-1999 - Exploring an unknown world: craft's Mars landing is today (Miami Herald)
It is hard-wired into human consciousness, this yearning to explore, inherited by every generation. Today, it is time for David Paige, walking in the path of his father -- on a planet 157 million miles away.
3-Dec-1999 - Where the Mars Lander will land (explorezone.com)
When the Mars Polar Lander touches down today, it will aim for a spot detailed by data collected by the Mars Orbiter's Laser Altimeter device.
3-Dec-1999 - Mars Polar Lander aims for touchdown today (Space Today)
If Mars is hiding signs of life, we might have a better chance of finding it starting today. It all depends on a spidery NASA robot probe called Mars Polar Lander, which will try to land this afternoon on gently sloping terrain near the Martian south pole.
3-Dec-1999 - Mars lander misses first chance to communicate (CNN)
The Mars Polar Lander failed to make radio contact with Earth during the first "window of opportunity" on Friday, but NASA scientists said the probe could still have successfully landed near the red planet's south pole.
3-Dec-1999 - No Answer from Mars. No Worries - Yet (space.com)
The Mars Polar Lander should have floated to a soft landing on the Red Planet just after 3 p.m. ET today. At the earliest, mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory had expected to hear from the spacecraft at 3:39 p.m. ET. However, that could now be pushed back for minutes, hours, or even days.
3-Dec-1999 - Mars Lander Science Chief Hopes Third Time's the Charm (space.com)
The road to Mars has been a rocky one for Richard Zurek, the man who leads the troops in charge of making Mars Polar Lander figure out the red planet's water history and find answers to dozens of other science questions.
3-Dec-1999 - NASA Headquarters Braces For Mars Landing (space.com)
NASA has more than just scientific instruments riding on its Mars Polar Lander mission: a botched mission could enflame already tense relations between agency headquarters and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory operating the craft.
3-Dec-1999 - Mission to Mars searches for signatures of life (Christian Science Monitor)
More than a century ago, H.G. Wells penned "The War of the Worlds," a tale of technologically advanced Martians that invaded Earth in a quest for water. Today NASA turns the tables with its latest conquest of the Red Planet, this time in the form of a trio of pint-size spacecraft that will prospect for the elusive liquid.
3-Dec-1999 - Virtual astronauts invade Mars via the Web (InfoWorld)
NASA is giving earthlings the opportunity to invade Mars as the space administration's Polar Lander touches down on the red planet Friday. During the 90-day mission to study water on Mars, virtual invaders will be able to log on to a NASA Web site where they can download Java 2D API, Java 3D API, and a Web Interface for TeleScience application; and access the sights and sounds of Mars transmitted from the Polar Lander 157 million miles away.
3-Dec-1999 - Mars Lander, Microprobes Both Silent (space.com)
A 15-minute chance for NASA to hear from its twin Deep Space 2 microprobes came and went tonight, meaning that the space agency now has three eerily silent spacecraft on the surface of Mars.
3-Dec-1999 - Mars Watchers Hold Breath As Probe Stays Silent (Yahoo! News)
The highly anticipated Mars Polar Lander touchdown on the red planet turned into a nail-biter on Friday as the spacecraft failed to call home, leaving scientists wondering what, if anything went wrong.
3-Dec-1999 - Mars lander silent after descent (CNN)
The Mars Polar Lander failed to make radio contact with Earth hours after its presumed landing, but NASA scientists maintain the probe could still have successfully touched down near the red planet's south pole.
3-Dec-1999 - Viking Dreams Became Mars Landing Realities for Flight Director (space.com)
He was just a teenager when the Viking Lander touched down on Mars, but now Sam Thurman is in charge of what could be NASA's fourth successful landing on the red planet.
3-Dec-1999 - U-M grad's idea headed to Mars (Detroit Free Press)
Two probes the size of basketballs are expected to slam against the surface of Mars in a test that could revolutionize future planetary exploration.
2-Dec-1999 - MPL Aims for Keyhole in the Sky (space.com)
Simply getting the Polar Lander from Earth to Mars is an extraordinary feat of marksmanship. Once it gets there, after a journey of 430 million miles (700 kilometers), it will face an even trickier task: threading a precise path through the Martian atmosphere. To survive its high-speed atmospheric passage, Mars Polar Lander must pass through a kind of keyhole in the sky called the entry corridor.
2-Dec-1999 - Mars mission managers ready for the unexpected (Nando Times)
With two NASA missions to Mars over the past six years having ended in sudden failure, the stakes are especially high Friday for the Mars Polar Lander, and the list of things that can go wrong is long. "It's about as do-or-die an event as they come," flight operations manager Sam Thurman said.
2-Dec-1999 - All systems go to land Mars probe (SpaceDaily)
"We are ready," University of Arizona planetary scientist Peter Smith said Dec. 1, speaking for a team of scientists who built cameras arriving Dec. 3 at Mars.
2-Dec-1999 - Sun Helps Mars Jive (SpaceDaily)
NASA scientists are using computer systems and software from Sun Microsystems, Inc. to guide the movement of the robotic arm of the Mars Polar Lander as it analyzes the Red Planet.
2-Dec-1999 - Robotic Arm Scoop Ready to Deliver (space.com)
It is likely the most sophisticated half-liter scoop ever built -- the bucket that will dig up dirt from the martian polar surface and dump it into the spacecraft's soil analyzer.
2-Dec-1999 - Glitch May Delay First Mars Microphone Transmission (space.com)
A minor problem only recently discovered with the microphone on the Mars Polar Lander (MPL) spacecraft could delay the first recording of sounds on the Red Planet by a day or more, the microphone's sponsors said this week.
2-Dec-1999 - NASA Foresees Smooth End for Polar Lander’s Journey (space.com)
Mars Polar Lander will land on Friday within a skinny swath of the red planet's "Antarctica," a mostly smooth region alternately ribbed with ridges, pocked with tiny pits, marked with gentle mounds and scored with flat gullies, new images from the Mars Global Surveyor show.
2-Dec-1999 - Mars Polar Lander Acts As Weather Station (space.com)
The Mars Polar Lander carries a weather station that is equipped with a comprehensive set of instruments designed to monitor every phase of the local weather at the spacecraft's landing site.
1-Dec-1999 - Mars craft comes armed to work (The Oregonian)
The Polar Lander will touch down Friday with an array of devices to detect water, part of the effort to determine whether life has existed on the red planet.
1-Dec-1999 - Mars Site Is Out of This World (Knight-Ridder)
Still two days and 609,000 miles away from an extremely challenging attempt to explore another world, the Mars Polar Lander already is a hit with (cyber)space buffs. One hundred million hits, actually. NASA's special Web site for the mission -- http://marslander.jpl.nasa.gov -- is a hot address, and it's growing hotter every day as Friday's landing approaches. Computer users around the world visited Mars mission sites 10 million times in November and nearly 100 million times this year.
1-Dec-1999 - What Will Mars Whisper (SpaceDaily)
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, together with The Planetary Society, are boosting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration out of the silent movie era into the realm of talkies. They've built the first microphone to fly aboard a NASA spacecraft -- the Mars Polar Lander -- so it can send back audio as well as video after the spacecraft lands Dec. 3 on Mars.
1-Dec-1999 - Mars Lander is Prelude to Piloted Missions (space.com)
When the Mars Polar Lander touches down on the south pole of the Red Planet on Friday, the experiments it will carry out will be paving the way for eventual human exploration of the planet.
1-Dec-1999 - Groundbreaking probes can lay the foundation for further space exploration (Space Today)
They sit on a narrow table in Sarah Gavit's office - rugged, ugly-looking chunks of metal that have been heated and frozen to extremes and slammed viciously into the ground. They are rejected versions of NASA's Deep Space 2 probes currently hitchhiking a ride to the Red Planet on the agency's Mars Polar Lander.
30-Nov-1999 - Microphone on craft will capture sounds from Red Planet (Space Today)
Listen up - NASA's latest mission to Mars has ears. Mars Polar Lander is equipped with a tiny microphone that will try to capture the first sounds heard from another planet.
30-Nov-1999 - Mars Failure Boosts Lander's Chance of Success (space.com)
Following the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter on September 23, the Mars Polar Lander team completely re-examined the project in an effort to increase the likelihood of its success. Yet despite the double-checking, project officials are still bracing themselves for heart-stopping moments as the lander hurdles toward the martian terrain.
30-Nov-1999 - For Mars scientists, landing will be hallelujah or heartbreak (Space Today)
Bob Bonitz was standing in the open doorway of an airplane at 10,000 feet last January when NASA's Mars Polar Lander was flung into space off a Cape Canaveral launch pad. He had intended to jump, rushing down in freefall as the rocket that carried the probe thundered in the distance, but thick clouds thwarted his plans.
30-Nov-1999 - Mars Polar Lander Completes Fourth Course Correction Maneuver (space.com)
NASA’s Mars Polar Lander, just 780,000 miles (1.3 million kilometers) and three days away from its rendezvous with the Red Planet, successfully trimmed its course on Tuesday for the fourth time since its launch.
29-Nov-1999 - Mars landing to test NASA's prowess (St. Petersburg Times)
In the past when NASA has had this much on the line, this much to worry about, it has always been about astronauts. Not this time.
29-Nov-1999 - Robotic Science Station Opens Dec 3 (SpaceDaily)
Days from now, scientists will witness their experiments complete an 11-month, 137-million-mile space trip to Mars.
29-Nov-1999 - Ballistic Science Hits Mars (SpaceDaily)
NASA returns to the surface of Mars with a bang this Friday afternoon Dec 3 (PST) when two penetrator probes piggybacking a bullet ride to Mars smash into the Martian surface to test new technologies.
29-Nov-1999 - Two Mars Missions Set For Climax on Friday (space.com)
If all goes well, Friday will mark the latest chapter in NASA’s ongoing campaign to explore Mars when the Polar Lander and two companion microprobes set down on the red planet. The U.S. space agency hopes to chalk up its fourth spacecraft landing at Mars, a feat it first accomplished with the twin Viking missions in 1976 and again with Pathfinder in 1997. (In 1971, the Soviets became the first to land on Mars.)
29-Nov-1999 - Cooking Class On Mars (space.com)
One of the great mysteries on Mars is this: Where did all the water go?
29-Nov-1999 - Mars Polar Lander a Miser When it Comes to Electricity (space.com)
Run the clothes dryer for 15 minutes. Turn on a window-unit air conditioner for 45 minutes to cool down the living room. Keep a pot boiling on an electric stove for an hour. Any one of these mundane activities requires about 1.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity -- that represents the total amount of power available each day to the Mars Polar Lander during the first part of its mission.
27-Nov-1999 - NASA lander will dig deep to study Mars (San Jose Mercury News)
Every time we've visited the red planet in the past, we've slogged through the atmosphere and kicked around some dust to get a superficial view. That's about to change. On Friday at 12:37 p.m. PST, NASA's Mars Polar Lander is expected to settle on the frigid soil near the planet's south pole and start digging below the dusty veneer.
27-Nov-1999 - NASA hopes mission comes crashing down (Virginia News)
The success of NASA's latest mission, the Mars Polar Lander, ironically depends on whether two Langley-built components do their job and come apart after crashing into the planet's ruddy, dusty surface Wednesday.
27-Nov-1999 - Microprobe Project Manager Meets the Challenge (space.com)
While the Mars Polar Lander team has relied on the work of previous NASA missions, a daring experiment that came along for the ride had to hoe its own row, the project manager said.
26-Nov-1999 - Events Around Mars Lander Arrival (Washington Post)
Key events of the Mars Polar Lander, scheduled to land Dec. 3 on the Red Planet:
26-Nov-1999 - Mars Lander Has Modest Mission (Washington Post)
Mars Polar Lander isn't equipped to find life on Mars, won't be arriving in a giant beach ball and doesn't have a little rover to roam in search of rocks.
25-Nov-1999 - Mars landing events and media coverage information (Florida Today)
NASA's Mars Polar Lander is due to set down under rocket power on layered, icy terrain near the south pole of Mars on December 3, with the first signal received on Earth that confirms the landing expected at 3:37 p.m. EST. The two Deep Space 2 microprobes that are piggybacking on the lander will impact the planet's surface at about this same time.
24-Nov-1999 - Scientists Holding Breath For Mars Polar Landing (University Science News)
Just days from now, scientists will see their experiments complete an 11-month, 137-million-mile space trip to Mars. On Friday, Dec. 3, NASA’s Mars Polar Lander is to make a first-ever landing near a pole of the Red Planet, the south pole.
24-Nov-1999 - Mars Polar Lander: Internet Blockbuster? (space.com)
Thanks to stratospheric growth in the Internet, interest in the Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space 2 missions could well rival that garnered by the Mars Pathfinder, which drew huge audiences -- 521 million hits in July 1997 alone -- after landing on the red planet.
22-Nov-1999 - Mars Polar Lander Teams Practice To Make Perfect (space.com)
Control teams who will guide the Mars Polar Lander through every minute of its scheduled 4-month mission near Mars' southern pole have completed a full-scale simulation of landing and the first four days of the operations that will follow a successful touchdown Dec. 3.
22-Nov-1999 - Sound Adds a New Dimension to the Exploration of Mars (Excite News)
After nearly a quarter century of breathtaking, but silent, photos from the Martian surface, a fascinating new project to record sound on Mars is about to add a new auditory dimension to our collective virtual space experience.
22-Nov-1999 - Red Planet may be acoustic challenge (cnews)
The Mars microphone will likely pick up some noises on the surface of the Red Planet, but scientists aren't exactly sure what those noises will sound like.
20-Nov-1999 - NASA's latest probe to eavesdrop on Red Planet (The Sacramento Bee)
A NASA spacecraft set to land on Mars next month will attempt for the first time to capture the sounds of the Red Planet -- using a $15 microphone connected to a chip commonly found in talking toys and telephones.
19-Nov-1999 - Mars Team Continues To Train For Landing (SpaceDaily)
JPL reports that NASA's Mars Polar Lander is healthy and on target for a landing this December 3. The beefed up MPL team has spent this week testing and training for the entry, descent and landing operations of the mission.
17-Nov-1999 - NASA Official Says Mars Polar Landing Site Is Best Ever (space.com)
The varied terrain of the Mars Polar Lander's chosen target region poses several dangers for a small craft attempting to gingerly plop down in the midst of its rolling hills. Overall, though, mission controllers say they couldn't hope for a better site.
17-Nov-1999 - The Fear Of A (SpaceDaily)
Given the embarrassing failure of the Mars Climate Orbiter, there is a good deal of nervousness -- both inside and outside the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, that its companion spacecraft, the Mars Polar Lander, might also fail during landing this Dec. 3.
16-Nov-1999 - Mars penetrator probes named for pioneering explorers (Florida Today)
NASA's Deep Space 2 microprobes, due to smash into the surface of Mars near the planet's south pole on Dec. 3, have been named Amundsen and Scott in honor of the first explorers to reach the South Pole of Earth.
16-Nov-1999 - Scott and Amundsen Go Head To Head Again (SpaceDaily)
NASA's Deep Space 2 microprobes, due to smash into the surface of Mars near the planet's south pole on Dec. 3, have been named Amundsen and Scott in honor of the first explorers to reach the South Pole of Earth.
15-Nov-1999 - Listening to Mars (space.com)
Within hours of the Mars Polar Lander’s arrival at the Red Planet on December 3, a tiny microphone stowed aboard the NASA spacecraft will begin to pick up the sounds of the distant world.
12-Nov-1999 - In Martian mix-up, an overtaxed NASA? (Christian Science Monitor)
Wednesday report on why probe failed paints a picture of an agency straining to do more for less money.
11-Nov-1999 - NASA Comes Clean (CBS News)
The Climate Orbiter was to have been the first weather satellite around Mars. Today, NASA admitted that the $125 million craft was in fact lost in space because of a simple, careless miscalculation.
10-Nov-1999 - Navigation Team Was Unfamiliar with Mars Climate Orbiter (space.com)
The Mars Climate Orbiter was lost at the Red Planet nearly seven weeks ago because the mission's navigation team was unfamiliar with the spacecraft. It lacked training, and failed to detect a mistake by outside engineers who delivered navigation information in English rather than metric units, according to a mission failure investigation report released Wednesday.
10-Nov-1999 - NASA Outlines Steps Taken to Prevent Back-to-Back Mars Losses (space.com)
The NASA team that commanded the late Mars Climate Orbiter made a "serious error" but is scrambling to ensure its sibling Polar Lander isn't lost when it arrives at the Red Planet in less than a month, officials said Wednesday.
10-Nov-1999 - Mars Climate Orbiter Failure Board Releases Report (NASA)
Wide-ranging managerial and technical actions are underway at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, in response to the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter and the initial findings of the mission failure investigation board, whose first report was released today.
10-Nov-1999 - JPL Director Agrees With Report (space.com)
Edward C. Stone, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said the NASA center has already begun to tackle the more than a dozen recommendations made public today by the panel investigating the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter.
10-Nov-1999 - Lockheed Martin Accepts Blame for Root Cause of Craft's Loss (space.com)
Lockheed Martin accepted responsibility for the fundamental cause of the loss of NASA's $250 million Mars Climate Orbiter last month -- but not the full blame -- a company official said in an interview Wednesday.
10-Nov-1999 - NASA set to release report on loss of Mars orbiter (CNN)
Six weeks after controllers lost the Mars Climate Orbiter, NASA is poised this afternoon to release a scathing report of what went wrong and what needs to be done to ensure the Orbiter's sister ship -- the Mars Polar Lander -- makes it safely to the surface of the red planet.
10-Nov-1999 - Mars Climate Orbiter review board to release report at briefing today (Florida Today)
News media are invited to participate in a briefing today by the NASA failure review board investigating the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter. The news briefing will emanate from NASA Headquarters and be broadcast at 1 p.m. EST.
9-Nov-1999 - Join a Mission to Mars at Planetfest '99 (Planetary Society)
Hear the first sounds from Mars! See the first images from landfall near the Martian South Pole! Examine the spacesuits for the first astronauts on Mars...the first astronauts in Touchstone Pictures' film, Mission to Mars, that is.
8-Nov-1999 - Official Mars Climate Orbiter Post-Mortem Due Wednesday (space.com)
An investigation panel will present its report on the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter during a briefing Wednesday at NASA headquarters.
8-Nov-1999 - Panel Uncovers Potentially Fatal Problem on Polar Lander (space.com)
A NASA board appointed to investigate the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter has uncovered a problem that if left uncorrected could doom its sister mission, the Polar Lander, as it makes its powered descent to the martian south pole on Dec. 3.
8-Nov-1999 - Mars probe to get brake check (Houston Chronicle)
Spacecraft engineers hope to head off a potential problem with the small rockets that are to slow a small Mars probe for landing at the planet's south pole, NASA said Monday.
6-Nov-1999 - Scientists All Ears Over Mars Mission (The Columbus Dispatch)
If Mars thunders next month, Earth will be listening.
5-Nov-1999 - Mars Climate Orbiter Investigation Board To Release Report (NASA)
The NASA failure review board investigating the loss of Mars Climate Orbiter will release its findings in a press briefing at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 1999.
5-Nov-1999 - Martian Voices Beckon at Planetfest Online (Planetary Society)
"I flew to Mars when I was 12. I never came back!" says Ray Bradbury, author of the Martian Chronicles.
1-Nov-1999 - Lander to listen for the sounds of Mars (CNN)
An idea first proposed by the late Carl Sagan will finally come to fruition in December, when NASA and the Planetary Society conduct a unusual experiment aboard the Mars Polar Lander.
1-Nov-1999 - JPL Spin-off Company Wins Mars Mission Patents (space.com)
A Jet Propulsion Laboratory spin-off has acquired the right to market sensor technology that plays an integral part in two upcoming Mars missions' ability to probe the red planet's soil and atmosphere for various gases.
30-Oct-1999 - Mars Polar Lander course correction burn today (Florida Today)
Ground controllers will refine the course of a Mars-bound spacecraft today so it can reach the Red Planet at the right spot for a planned Dec. 3 landing.
30-Oct-1999 - Mars Polar Lander Fixes Flight Path (AP)
The Mars Polar Lander successfully performed a 12-second thruster firing Saturday to fine tune its flight path to arrive on the Red Planet's south pole on Dec. 3.
30-Oct-1999 - Success. Flight Controllers Fine Tune Lander's Approach. (space.com)
NASA's Mars Polar Lander successfully fired its thrusters on Saturday to make one of two final scheduled corrections to its course in anticipation of a Dec. 3 arrival at the Red Planet's south pole.
29-Oct-1999 - Mars Polar Lander Control Team Ready To Fine-Tune Lander's Course (space.com)
NASA’s Mars Polar Lander fires its thrusters this weekend to make one of two final scheduled corrections to its course in anticipation of a December 3 arrival at the red planet's south pole.
26-Oct-1999 - NASA decides to stick with original Mars landing site (CNN)
NASA officials said Tuesday they have decided to stick with the first choice of landing sites for the Mars Polar Lander despite concerns about potentially hazardous terrain in the area
25-Oct-1999 - When Planets Speak (SpaceDaily)
Mars Polar Lander is nearing Mars for its scheduled December 3 arrival. A trajectory correction maneuver will be applied this week to target it for the final selected landing site on Mars (76 degrees south latitude, 195 degrees west longitude). Following the loss of Mars Climate Orbiter due to a navigation error, this maneuver and all the project navigation is being watched closely.
22-Oct-1999 - New Images Show Hazards For Mars Lander (space.com)
The site for NASA’s next Mars landing appears to be more hilly and hazardous than mission planners initially had thought, but for now there is no plan to steer the spacecraft to a back-up touch-down site, a scientist said Friday.
20-Oct-1999 - Mars Polar Lander Maneuver Rescheduled Again (space.com)
Mission officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have postponed for a second time a routine course-correction maneuver planned for the Mars Polar Lander.
20-Oct-1999 - Polar Lander Burn Delayed (SpaceDaily)
Flight controllers for NASA's Mars Polar Lander have decided to postpone the next thruster firing used to fine-tune the spacecraft's flight path until October 30.
18-Oct-1999 - Planetary Society's Mars Microphone Ready for Duty (The Planetary Society)
Mars Polar Lander is nearing Mars for its scheduled December 3 arrival. A trajectory correction maneuver will be applied this week to target it for the final selected landing site on Mars (76 degrees south latitude, 195 degrees west longitude). Following the loss of Mars Climate Orbiter due to a navigation error, this maneuver and all the project navigation is being watched closely.
14-Oct-1999 - Listening for the Buzz of Thin Windy Air (space.com)
Officials at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory still expect to hear the sounds of Mars when the Mars Polar Lander arrives. Although they are scrambling to redesign the command sequences for most instruments aboard spacecraft, the Mars microphone isn't giving them anything to worry about.
12-Oct-1999 - Mars lander set for course adjustment on October 20 (CNN)
Flight operators have set October 20 as the date for a fourth planned thruster firing to correct the course of a lander speeding toward Mars, a matter of intense scrutiny following the recent loss of another NASA spacecraft due to a navigation error.
11-Oct-1999 - Next Mars Lander Burn Oct 20 (SpaceDaily)
Flight controllers for NASA's Mars Polar Lander mission have set October 20 as the date of the next thruster firing that will fine-tune the spacecraft's path for its December 3 arrival. The spacecraft is healthy and operating normally.
10-Oct-1999 - Was Danger To Mars Probe Ignored? (SpaceDaily)
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, predictably, has been the subject of considerable public ridicule since the revelation that the Mars Climate Orbiter was accidentally sent into a fatal plunge through the Martian atmosphere as the result of an elementary measurement error.
8-Oct-1999 - Mars lander doesn't have metric problem that doomed orbiter (CNN)
A spacecraft hurtling toward Mars for a Dec. 3 landing is not afflicted by the same metric conversion problem that caused a sibling probe to vanish as it arrived at the Red Planet last month, mission controllers say.
8-Oct-1999 - JPL Responds: Mars Lander Will Not Lose Science (space.com)
Despite the concerns of many Mars Polar Lander scientists, the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter has not reduced the science potential of their mission in any way, officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Thursday.
7-Oct-1999 - Space.com Exclusive -- NASA May Lose Much of Polar Lander's Science (space.com)
The science goals of the Mars Polar Lander could be severely compromised if another satellite link is not established to replace the lost Mars Climate Orbiter, project scientists say. The best-case scenario is that the Mars Global Surveyor will be able to perform the services originally assigned to the Climate Orbiter, but the surveyor is already busy with its own task of mapping the planet. It is not clear how the Global Surveyor's current mission would be affected by a role change, or whether such a change is feasible.
6-Oct-1999 - JPL Postpones Aiming Maneuver For Mars Polar Lander (space.com)
A course-correction maneuver for the Mars Polar Lander has been postponed, while mission controllers redesign the mission. The routine fine-tuning of the polar lander's course was originally scheduled for Thursday, but now will not be conducted until Oct. 18 or 20, said spokeswoman Mary Hardin of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
6-Oct-1999 - Head of Mars Climate Orbiter Investigation Board Named (NASA)
NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin today named Arthur G. Stephenson, director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, to be the head of the Mars Climate Orbiter Mission Failure Investigation Board.
1-Oct-1999 - Is Cost-Cutting to Blame for Orbiter Loss? (space.com)
NASA's chief engineer Friday defended the space agency's "smaller, faster, cheaper" policy for designing space missions, saying that the loss of the $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter was probably unrelated to the accelerated design process of the mission.
30-Sep-1999 - Why Mars Probe Went Splat (SpaceDaily)
A failure to recognize and correct an error in a transfer of information between the Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft team in Colorado and the mission navigation team in California led to the loss of the spacecraft last week, preliminary findings by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory internal peer review indicate.
28-Sep-1999 - NASA beefs up Polar Lander team, extends probe into loss of Mars Climate Orbiter (Space Today)
Having lost one spacecraft at Mars last week, worried NASA officials took new steps Monday to protect a second Mars-bound probe from the unexplained navigation error that destroyed its sistership. The agency brought in outside experts to help find out what went wrong, and assigned reinforcements to the team directing the Mars Polar Lander to a Dec. 3 landing near the planet's south pole.
28-Sep-1999 - Three panels to investigate Mars orbiter loss (CNN)
NASA has formed three panels to look into a navigation error that resulted in the presumed destruction of a $125-million spacecraft and to make sure a similar problem doesn't doom a similarly priced mission set to land on Mars in December.
26-Sep-1999 - Mars Lander Unhurt by Orbiter Loss (Discovery Channel Online)
Thursday's apparent destruction of the Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft won't affect the Mars Polar Lander mission slated for December, NASA officials say. The orbiter was to serve as a communications relay for the lander's Dec. 3 decent to the Martian surface before it began a two-year study of the weather.
25-Sep-1999 - Mars probe as good as gone (Australian Broadcasting Corp News)
Space scientists in the United States have abandoned all hope of recovering a spacecraft which disappeared close to the planet Mars. The Mars Climate Orbiter, which cost more than $150 million, was launched nine months ago as part of a program to investigate weather patterns on Mars and find out if life ever existed on the planet.
25-Sep-1999 - Lost probe won't alter NASA missions (Nando Times)
The celebratory Mars candy bars lay uneaten on a desktop. Nearby were the computers that would have monitored the heartbeat of NASA's latest Martian probe - if it had survived.
25-Sep-1999 - Safeguarding the Next Mars Probe (Wired News)
The probable destruction of a Mars mission on Thursday may have thrown a wrench in NASA's plans to better understand the red planet, but it won't sully the mission's sibling probe, set to touch down in December, scientists said.
24-Sep-1999 - NASA gives up search for missing Mars orbiter (CNN)
NASA scientists have given up their search for the $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter, which was lost after a navigation error pushed it fatally close to the planet on Thursday. "The spacecraft has been declared lost," said Mary Beth Murrill, a spokeswoman for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
24-Sep-1999 - Mars Orbiter: What Probably Happened (space.com)
Data released by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California indicates that the initial approach of the Mars Climate Orbiter was too close. Controllers fear the spacecraft burned in the Martian atmosphere and crashed into the surface of the planet.
24-Sep-1999 - NASA Abandons Search For Orbiter (space.com)
Mission controllers of NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter have abandoned the search for the spacecraft and declared it lost. Sam Thurman, flight operations manager for the Mars Climate Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander, called off the search at 9 p.m. Pacific daylight time Friday.
24-Sep-1999 - Aust astronomers search for missing Mars probe (Australian Broadcasting Corp News)
Canberra astronomers are holding a glimmer of hope for the survival of the Mars space probe they were tracking last night. NASA officials believe the Mars Climate Orbiter crashed when it fired its engines to enter orbit around the red planet.
24-Sep-1999 - NASA Says Mars Orbiter Lost In Space (Reuters)
An unmanned $125 million spacecraft, intended to be the first interplanetary weather station, went missing Thursday and NASA scientists said they feared it had broken up just as it was starting to circle Mars.
24-Sep-1999 - Loss of Climate Orbiter 'significant' but won't end Mars program (Space Today)
Within minutes of success, a NASA mission to Mars ended in failure Thursday when a spacecraft designed to study Martian weather apparently burned up in the planet's atmosphere.
24-Sep-1999 - Human error blamed for Orbiter loss (BBC)
Few people at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the home of US planetary exploration, believe that their continuing efforts to find the lost Mars Climate Orbiter probe will be successful.
24-Sep-1999 - Scientist fights Mars setback (BBC)
Oxford University scientist Professor Fred Taylor has said he is "very, very, disappointed" by the failure of Nasa's latest Mars probe, the Mars Climate Orbiter. The craft, which vanished as it manoeuvred into orbit around the planet, had on board a weather-monitoring satellite painstakingly built by the Professor of Atmospheric Physics.
23-Sep-1999 - What the loss of Mars Climate Orbiter means (BBC)
If the Mars Climate Orbiter resists all attempts to rescue it - and that seems almost certain now - then many scientists and engineers will have to face its loss with stoic resignation. The Red Planet will have claimed another victim.
23-Sep-1999 - NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter believed to be lost (NASA)
NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter is believed to be lost due to a suspected navigation error. Early this morning at about 2 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time the orbiter fired its main engine to go into orbit around the planet. All the information coming from the spacecraft leading up to that point looked normal. The engine burn began as planned five minutes before the spacecraft passed behind the planet as seen from Earth. Flight controllers did not detect a signal when the spacecraft was expected to come out from behind the planet.
23-Sep-1999 - Mars craft's engine fires, but no signal (CNN)
NASA's next Mars orbiter fired its engine to push itself into orbit around the red planet early Thursday but engineers failed to receive a signal that all went well. The Mars Climate Orbiter engine fired as expected at 5:01 EDT, with a chorus of "Yes!" coming from the control room at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
23-Sep-1999 - Mars probe feared destroyed (BBC)
Nasa's latest probe to Mars is almost certainly lost. Mission controllers say the $125m spacecraft, which contains a British-built weather satellite, came too close to the planet when it tried to manoeuvre into orbit on Thursday and was probably destroyed.
23-Sep-1999 - Why So Far? (space.com)
Although Mars moves in an elliptical orbit that averages about 141 million miles (228 million kilometers) from the sun, the Mars Climate Orbiter traveled some 416 million miles on its way to Mars from Earth. When the Mars Climate orbiter was launched on December 11 last year, Earth and Mars were just 136.6 million miles from each other. Why then did the orbiter have to go so far to get there? Did it take the long way around?
23-Sep-1999 - Mars Orbiter Presumed Destroyed (AP)
A $125 million spacecraft meant to be NASA's first interplanetary weather satellite was presumed destroyed today after it failed to regain contact with Earth following a critical engine firing to place it in orbit around Mars.
23-Sep-1999 - Mars probe's predecessor lost in similar circumstances (Houston Chronicle)
The loss of contact with the Mars Climate Orbiter early Thursday just as it circled behind the red planet recalls the similar loss in 1993 of an earlier unmanned spacecraft, the Mars Observer.
23-Sep-1999 - NASA Says Mars Orbiter Lost In Space (Reuters)
NASA scientists said Thursday that their Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft was missing and they feared that it may have broken up just as it was due to go into orbit around the Red Planet. NASA officials monitoring the craft said they lost communication with the unmanned orbiter after it went behind the planet at about 5:30 a.m. EDT.
23-Sep-1999 - Mars craft possibly dead (CNN)
A navigation error pushed NASA's latest Mars mission dangerously close to the planet Thursday, leaving the $125 million probe lost in space and possibly destroyed.
23-Sep-1999 - Mars devours NASA spacecraft (Houston Chronicle)
After a trouble-free, 9 1/2-month voyage from Earth, NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter disappeared early Thursday as it was maneuvering into orbit around the Red Planet.
22-Sep-1999 - Climate Orbiter has a date with history, and Mars, on Thursday (Space Today)
For Climate Orbiter, Mars is only 133,000 miles away. A NASA spacecraft is closing in fast today for an early Thursday arrival at the Red Planet, where it is to make an unprecedented study of Martian weather.
22-Sep-1999 - All eyes on the Red Planet as space probe draws near (Space Today)
There's no doubt about it: The UFOs are controlled by alien life forms, and more spacecraft are on the way. To Mars, that is.
22-Sep-1999 - Mars Gets a Weather Satellite (space.com)
The Mars Climate Orbiter arrives at the red planet September 23 to begin a 2-year mapping and weather-observation mission. Initially, it will enter a highly elliptical orbit that will send the spacecraft at a grazing angle through the thin Martian atmosphere to gradually slow it down. This maneuver, called aerobraking, is designed to conserve propellant that would otherwise be needed to reduce the orbiter's speed before entering Martian orbit.
21-Sep-1999 - Weather Satellite Nears Mars (NASA Science)
Mars Climate Orbiter, the first of two NASA spacecraft to reach Mars this year, is set to go into orbit around the red planet to become the first interplanetary weather satellite and a communications relay for the next lander mission to explore Mars.
21-Sep-1999 - Beginning a Bargain-Basement Invasion of Mars (NY Times)
Two American spacecraft are approaching Mars, the second wave of economy-class robotic orbiting and landing parties in an ambitious revival of exploration of the red planet.
19-Sep-1999 - Radar to seek water on Mars (Press Release)
University of Iowa professor and space physicist Don Gurnett has won a $4 million NASA contract in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. to develop and use radar in a search for underground water on Mars.
15-Sep-1999 - Mars Climate Orbiter On Final Approach (SpaceDaily)
NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft completed its final maneuver this morning to adjust its flight path for arrival at Mars next week. The orbiter fired its maneuvering engines at 9:40 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time for 15 seconds.
13-Sep-1999 - Eye Spy Mars (SpaceDaily)
This image is the first view of Mars taken by the Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) Mars Color Imager (MARCI). It was acquired on 7 September 1999 at about 16:30 UTC (9:30 AM PDT), when the spacecraft was approximately 4.5 million kilometers (2.8 million miles) from the planet. This full-scale medium angle camera view is the highest resolution possible at this distance from Mars.
13-Sep-1999 - Mars Climate Orbiter snaps first picture (AP)
The first picture snapped by a camera aboard the Mars Climate Orbiter shows the red planet from 2.8 million miles away looking like a tiny, out-of-focus piece of elbow macaroni.
10-Sep-1999 - Earth to Mars Climate Orbiter: Are We There Yet? (NASA)
Like a kid looking out of the window of the family minivan, the camera on board NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter has snapped its first look at the red planet while it was still 4.5 million kilometers (2.8 million miles) away. The image shows Mars as a tiny red "half moon" dot. It was taken on Tuesday, September 7, by the spacecraft's color camera, one of two science instruments onboard.
10-Sep-1999 - Mars, Dead Ahead! (space.com)
Zooming toward Mars at some 12,000 mph (about 19,000 kilometers per hour), the Mars Climate Orbiter has snapped the first picture of its destination. Viewed through the spacecraft's color camera from 2.8 million miles away, Mars looks like a tiny red crescent bobbing in the black of space. NASA released the image Thursday, three days after controllers began operating the orbiter's cameras.
10-Sep-1999 - Climate Orbiter returns its first image of Mars (explorezone.com)
You'll have to trust us on this one: This is a picture of Mars. This image, released today, is the first view of the Red Planet taken by the Mars Climate Orbiter, which is currently on its way to study our celestial neighbor.
26-Aug-1999 - Mars Lander set for soft touchdown (BBC)
Nasa scientists say they have a found a landing site on Mars for the Polar Lander probe to touch down on the Red Planet later this year. The probe, designed to search for water in the form of ice or vapour on the Martian surface, will come down softly on the fine dust of "gentle, rolling plains" in a target area 198km (124 miles) long by 19km (12.4 miles) wide near the planet's south pole.
26-Aug-1999 - NASA reveals landing site for next Martian probe (Space Today)
It has everything a spacecraft needs in a landing site on Mars: 24-hours of sunlight, flat terrain and few rocks. On Wednesday, NASA scientists showed off the region chosen for the planned Dec. 3 landing of their Mars Polar Lander spacecraft. One of two craft en route to Mars, the probe is to land near the South Pole and search for water.
25-Aug-1999 - Mars Polar Lander to arrive on smooth, layered terrain (NASA)
A strip of gentle, rolling plains near the Martian South Pole will serve as a welcome mat when NASA's Mars Polar Lander touches down on the Red Planet on Dec. 3. NASA unveiled the landing site, a swath of terrain measuring about 1,500 square miles (4,000 square kilometers), at a briefing Wednesday at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.
25-Aug-1999 - Lander Zeros In For Gentle Southern Landing (SpaceDaily)
A strip of gentle, rolling plains near the Martian south pole will serve as a welcome mat when NASA's Mars Polar Lander touches down on the red planet on December 3.
25-Aug-1999 - Mars Polar Lander Targets Mysterious Surface (space.com)
The Mars Polar Lander will ease to the surface of Mars Dec. 3 at a site some 310 miles (500 kilometers) from the planet's south pole, NASA officials announced Wednesday. The landing site, which was chosen from a list of four potential locations, was chosen for its mysterious martian polar layered terrain. This surface, which scientists think may hold secrets about the climate and surface evolution of Mars, is very different from the ground that covers the planet's mid lattitudes
20-Aug-1999 - NASA to Reveal Next Mars Landing Site Aug 25 (NASA)
The target landing zone for NASA's Mars Polar Lander -- a site located in mysterious layered terrain near the Martian South Pole -- will be unveiled in a press briefing on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
10-Aug-1999 - Launch of NASA's Mars Missions Earns Honors for Boeing Delta Team (Boeing News Release)
Three consecutive Mars missions, all launched aboard Delta rockets, on time and within a four-month period, has garnered The Boeing Company a NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award.
9-Apr-1999 - Alive and Well On Route To Mars (SpaceDaily)
Science instruments built at The University of Arizona in Tucson are now halfway to Mars aboard the Mars Polar Lander, and they're doing just fine, according to checks made yesterday. Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) scientists learned yesterday that their instruments, a collection of ovens called TEGA, for Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer, their Stereo Surface Imager (SSI) and Robotic Arm Camera (RAC) survived the Jan. 3 launch from Earth to the Red Planet.
4-Jan-1999 - Probe heads for Mars with shovel, microphone (CNN)
NASA's newest spacecraft hurtled toward Mars Monday on a mission to dig for traces of water, transmit pictures and -- for the first time -- listen for sounds.
3-Jan-1999 - NASA rockets to Mars with Polar Lander (CNN)
NASA's Mars Polar Lander spacecraft lifted off on schedule Sunday, beginning an 11-month journey that is to culminate with a landing on the red planet's southernmost icy surface.
3-Jan-1999 - Polar Lander Heads For Mars (SpaceDaily)
A Boeing Delta 2 rocket roared into space today carrying two Mars-bound spacecraft for NASA. The successful launch of Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space 2 took place at 3:21 p.m. EST.
3-Jan-1999 - Mars lander sets off to break new ground (MSNBC)
The first interplanetary lander to follow Mars Pathfinder’s trail has begun a mission that will take it where no probe has gone before: the Red Planet’s polar regions. Mars Polar Lander, launched from Cape Canaveral on Sunday, will analyze the atmosphere and subsurface soil to solve puzzles surrounding the planet’s climate — and could even let Earthlings hear the sounds of Mars for the first time.
3-Jan-1999 - Mars Mission beats the Weather (BBC)
The Mars Polar Lander blasted off on schedule despite bad weather which threatened to delay the mission to test for signs of water and life on the Red Planet.
27-Dec-1998 - Polar Lander to search Mars for water ice and clues to life (Space Today)
Water, the giver of life. From mighty elephants to minuscule bugs, every living thing on Earth needs it to exist. And maybe every living thing on cold, barren Mars as well.
22-Dec-1998 - Polar Lander Ready For Deep Space (SpaceDaily)
The Boeing Delta team will ring in the new year by launching the Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space 2 spacecraft for NASA from Complex 17B at Cape Canaveral, January 3, 1999. The launch window is at 3:21 p.m. EST.
18-Dec-1998 - Planetary Society Calls For Vigorous Mars Exploration Program (SpaceDaily)
The Mars Climate Orbiter was successfully launched last week and is now on its way to the Red Planet. It will reach Mars in nine and a half months and collect data on the planet's atmosphere and search for evidence of water. The vehicle will also operate as a radio relay station for a second mission, the Mars Polar Lander, as well as subsequent missions through 2004.
15-Dec-1998 - Kodak Gives Color To Mars (SpaceDaily)
Eastman Kodak Company digital imaging technology, which played a key role on the Mars Pathfinder Mission Rover, is going back to Mars. This time, Kodak solid-state imaging sensors are on board the Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO), one of the two spacecraft of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Surveyor '98 Mission. Launched on December 11 from Cape Canaveral, the Mars Climate Orbiter will focus on gaining a better understanding of Mars' atmosphere and climate history. The MCO science payload includes the Mars Color Imager (MARCI), a camera system that uses two Kodak image sensors.
12-Dec-1998 - NASA successfully launches Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft (Space Today)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully launched the Lockheed Martin Astronautics-built Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft Dec. 11 at 1:45 p.m. EST on a nine-and-a-half-month voyage to Mars.
12-Dec-1998 - Third Mars Invasion Underway (SpaceDaily)
A Boeing Delta2 lifted off Friday afternoon with NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter onboard and forming the first phase of Earth's second invasion of Mars. Launch was at 1:45:51pm EST.
11-Dec-1998 - Next mission to Mars set for Cape launch today (Space Today)
Temperatures fall with the sunset on Mars, turning a day that never climbed above freezing into a bone-chilling night that can reach more than 100 degrees below zero.
11-Dec-1998 - Mars Climate Observer - almost ready to go (BBC)
Last minute checks are being made to the latest spacecraft to be sent to Mars. Launch could take place within 24 hours. The departure of the Mars Climate Observer, will mark the start of a month during which two important spacecraft will be sent towards the red planet. One to orbit the planet, the other to land on it.
11-Dec-1998 - Mars Here We Come (SpaceDaily)
Mars Climate Orbiter has been cleared for launch Friday at 1.45pm local time via a Boeing Delta2. The software controlling the spacecraft's electrical system, which caused a one-day launch delay, has been reviewed and a recommended change was made Thursday. The launch window closes at 2:52pm EST.
11-Dec-1998 - Rain check on Mars (BBC)
A space probe that will orbit Mars looking for water and watching the weather has been launched from Cape Canaveral. Nasa's unmanned Mars Climate Orbiter lifted off on top of a Delta 2 rocket precisely on time - nine seconds before 1846 GMT.
7-Dec-1998 - Life on Mars? Listen for Yourself (Sensory)
In January 1999, NASA will launch the Mars Polar Lander, a satellite containing equipment enabling mankind to hear sounds on Mars. The satellite containing the "Mars Microphone" includes a highly versatile chip capable of generating and recognizing speech and recording sounds.
13-Jul-1998 - Surveyor probing Mars as next missions approach horizon (Space Today)
A year ago, the world was captivated by pictures of the desolate, salomon-colored surface of Mars beamed back from NASA's Pathfinder probe. But if you thought the exploration of the Red Planet was over when the robotic lander and its tiny rover, Sojourner, died last fall, you're wrong.
25-May-1998 - The Mars Microphone: Ready To Go (Space Today)
Ever wonder what it sounds like on Mars? When the next lander in NASA's program to explore the Red Planet touches down in 1999, we will all have the chance to find out. Onboard the Mars Polar Lander will be a small recording device, the Mars Microphone, whose job is to sample sound while the rest of the probe studies the soil, weather, and atmospheric dust.
13-Feb-1998 - Mars '98 payloads integrated as scientists view first close-ups of strange, layered polar terrain (Space Today)
Swirling bands of eroded, layered rock, reminiscent of the edges of Alaskan ice sheets, and an array of light and dark mottled patterns blanket the frigid floor of Mars' south pole, where NASA's newly named Mars Polar Lander will touch down in late 1999.
24-Sep-1996 - New Millennium Flight to Send Microprobes to Mars (Space Today)
Two small science probes will be sent to Mars in 1999 to demonstrate innovative new technologies brought to the forefront by NASA's New Millennium program. Under terms of a new agreement between the New Millennium and Mars Exploration programs, the microprobes will hitchhike to Mars aboard NASA's 1998 Mars Surveyor Lander.